Nutrients are an important component in the operation of a wastewater treatment plant. Specifically, the two macronutrients nitrogen and phosphorus, otherwise known as N and P. They are critical building blocks for bacterial growth and reproduction, as well as energy transfer.
Just as people require a balanced diet including vitamins and minerals, bacteria require nitrogen and phosphorus at a certain ratio in order to reproduce quickly and degrade food to the best of their ability in the conditions they live within. The “food” is oftentimes referred to as BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) but BOD is really a laboratory test used to measure the quantity of biodegradable material left in a system after one or five days prior to discharge (BOD1 or BOD5). However, not every wastewater treatment plant requires the addition of nitrogen or phosphorus since some quantity of it may already exist in the water entering the WWTP. The key is having the correct ratio of nitrogen and phosphorus that a manufacturing plant’s microbiological system needs to run efficiently without overdosing or underdosing it on either N or P, thus compromising bacterial reproduction.
While the importance of nutrient availability for optimum wastewater system performance is generally well accepted, Environmental Business Specialists continues to develop techniques and strategies for optimizing nutrient application rates without compromising system performance. There are several approaches that EBS utilizes to assist our clients in optimizing performance while reducing nutrient cost.
In general, EBS takes a holistic approach that may include some or all of the following components:
Since 2002, EBS has worked with over thirty pulp and paper mills to optimize their nutrient programs. Mike Foster, CET (Certified Environmental Trainer) has given numerous presentations and participated in several panel discussions on the subject at both TAPPI and NCASI meetings. If you would like to like to know more about nutrient optimization and the EBS approach, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.